It bugs me when people use nature as if it some active force picking and choosing what results are best suited for the (implied) progress of some thing. Though I think that when someone talks about nature in this way they aren't meaning to suggest this but to me it comes across this way. I am wondering if I am wrong to be nit-picky about this or if I am actually wrong about it and a person is correct to use nature in this way.
The following link is to a short video that discusses generating wind energy from vertical-axis turbines. I find it inspiring and I like their approach to the research. So my irks have nothing to do with the science the professor and his team are doing, just with a sentence he is using.
"We figure over the course of evolution nature [has] come up with a number of pretty good engineering solutions."
Is it better to say...
"We figure evolution has selected for a number of pretty good engineering solutions."
I suppose this bugs me because I think by using nature in the way the professor has then it suggests some degree of consciousness behind what has resulted. Evolution is a cold, natural process that isn't concerned with anything because it isn't conscious.
Prof. Dabiri isn't the only one that has talked about nature in this way. I remember listening to Dawkins, Hitchens, Tyson, etc... use it in this way as well. So I wonder if I am wrong. I know my sentence could also be misinterpreted to present evolution as a conscious process as well.
I make the effort when talking to other people about evolution to use the word "selected". I don't mind changing my word usage if it is better to talk about evolution in a different way.
What do you guys think?